HomeUncategorizedXavi: Yamal, 15, can identify what Barca was like Messi

Xavi: Yamal, 15, can identify what Barca was like Messi

Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez says 15-year-old Lamin Yamal can mark an era at the club after making his La Liga debut in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Real Betis.

Yamal, who doesn’t turn 16 until July, came off the bench for the final 10 minutes to make Barca’s youngest debut in the Spanish top flight.

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Former Mallorca forward Luca Romero, now at Lazio, remains the youngest to play in La Liga, but Yamal became one of only five players to play in the league at the age of 16.

“I asked him to try something and he did,” Xavi said of Yamal’s debut. “At 15 years old, just imagine that… he’s special and he could have scored tonight, but [Betis goalkeeper Rui Silva] Reserved.

“He played with confidence and he showed what he is. He has no fear and bags of talent. Some of his passes in the final third were really good.”

Yamal has already drawn comparisons to Lionel Messi and Ansu Fati, two other forwards who broke into Barca’s first team with great fanfare as teenagers.

“He’s a similar player because he has that innate talent in the final third that’s hard to find,” Xavi added when asked if the three could be compared.

“Lamin doesn’t look 15, he’s very mature. He’s ready [to play] And he trained well. As part of this team he can mark an era at this club.”

Yamal was given a roaring reception from the 88,000 crowd at the Spotify Camp Nou and Barca forward Rafinha, who scored the third goal in the win over Betis, said it would not be long until he scored his first goal for the club.

“We were talking about it on the bench and I think when I was 15 I was playing for the local team in my neighborhood,” the Brazil international told reporters.

“It was incredible to see him come out in front of the fans. It would have been better if he scored, but I’m sure he’ll get one sooner rather than later.”

Andreas Christensen, returning from injury, opened the scoring for Barca in the 13th minute and Betis were reduced to 10 men when Edgar Gonzalez was sent off for two bookings.

Robert Lewandowski added the second and Rafinha the third, with an own goal from Guido Rodriguez completing the scoring late on, bringing on Javio Ousmane Dembele, who returned from a three-month injury lay-off.

The victory restored Barca’s 11-point lead at the top of the table over Real Madrid as they secured their first title since 2019 and saw the team return to winning ways after a shock loss at Rayo Vallecano in midweek.

“After the well-deserved defeat in Vallecas, we needed to react,” Xavi added. “We started well. We were already in goal after the red card.

“We basically shut the game down in the first half. It was a good performance from the team, we were able to rotate and give minutes to other players. It’s another step towards our goal.

“It was important for Dembele and Christensen to get minutes. Dembele told me he felt good. We missed them both. They are special players.”

The defeat left Betis nine points adrift of the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.

Coach Manuel Pellegrini admits Barca are the better team, but he is not happy with the red cards, with Edgar sent off for fouls on Rafinha and Pedri in the first half after coming on for the injured Luiz Felipe.

“The game lasted 20 minutes,” Pellegrini said. “Barcelona dominated, scored from a corner and then ended the game with an unfair dismissal.

“If you ask me, no challenge is booking. The first is justified because it is [the referee’s] criteria, but the second has no explanation because it goes against his criteria.

“The referee himself said twice it was not a yellow and [Barca’s players] forcing him to change his decision. He showed no character.”



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